According to the NY Times, Yoga can cause some serious health issues in certain people.

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a_woman_in_yoga_bridge_pose According to the NY Times, Yoga can cause some serious health issues in certain people. Yoga is more popular than ever, with different styles of practice including the popular hot Yoga. Most practitioners of Yoga traditionally began when they were young and had many habits we in the western world do not, so Yoga has been a natural extension of that.  We in the western world often sit and are likely genetically different as well in the ways our bodies are built and shaped.   There is no one size fits all and this includes Yoga. There has been a lot of attention to vertebral artery dissections lately, most notably the model Katie May who died after being in a modeling shoot, and along the line visited a chiropractor for neck pain.  While the evidence suggests that the arterial problem was well underway prior to visiting the chiropractor, the truth is that people may have a vertebral artery dissection from having their neck in a sink where you have your hair cut, or by looking backward when backing out of a driveway or even while working under a sink.  In other words, any mechanism can cause this including the Yoga plow.  While Katie May's situation was unfortunate, the research suggests that there may be a genetic component for some people that may predispose them to a stroke when turning their neck to an extreme position.  Avoiding these positions will definitely reduce the risk of a vertebral dissection, but the truth is, a very small sample of the population may be at risk, and certain Yoga positions may increase that risk, as much as some of the other extreme neck positions may. It has been our experience that people who do Yoga perceive many benefits physically, especially from the bridging and held positions, yet some of the asymmetrical maneuvers can leave you in pain if you cannot recognize whether you are stretching or straining, something most of us are not good at. Check out this NY Times article. How Yoga Can Wreck Your Body By WILLIAM J. BROADJAN. Editors"™ note: We"™re resurfacing this 2012 magazine article for Smarter Living so you can feel a little less guilty about skipping that yoga class. On a cold Saturday in early 2009, Glenn Black, a yoga teacher of nearly four decades, whose devoted clientele includes a number of celebrities and prominent gurus, was giving a master class at Sankalpah Yoga in Manhattan. Black is, in many ways, a classic yogi: he studied in Pune, India, at the institute founded by the legendary B. K. S. Iyengar, and spent years in solitude and meditation. He now lives in Rhinebeck, N.Y., and often teaches at the nearby Omega Institute, a New Age emporium spread over nearly 200 acres of woods and gardens. He is known for his rigor and his down-to-earth style. But this was not why I sought him out: Black, I"™d been told, was the person to speak with if you wanted to know not about the virtues of yoga but rather about the damage it could do. Many of his regular clients came to him for bodywork or rehabilitation following yoga injuries. This was the situation I found myself in. In my 30s, I had somehow managed to rupture a disk in my lower back and found I could prevent bouts of pain with a selection of yoga postures and abdominal exercises. Then, in 2007, while doing the extended-side-angle pose, a posture hailed as a cure for many diseases, my back gave way. With it went my belief, naïve in retrospect, that yoga was a source only of healing and never harm. Read more